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LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, is a purely synthetic chemical first synthesized in 1938 in Switzerland. LSD was discovered during research on ergot derivatives. As a member of a group of drugs called psychedelics, it is known for its tendency to cause significant hallucinations and sensory distortions in those under its influence.

It is a pure white crystalline substance with no noticeable smell or taste. It is so potent, however, that when it is taken, the doses are measured in micrograms, and a dose is nearly invisible. When administered, it is often diluted with alcohol and dropped onto perforated sheets of artwork, blotter paper, gelatin sheets, or even sugar cubes and gummy bears. The users then take the drug orally, holding it in the mouth for some time while it absorbs through the mucous membranes. 

What is a Tolerance to LSD?

Tolerance is the diminishing returns you receive from regularly using a specific substance. With some substances, the tolerance builds up slowly, while in others, it only takes a few uses to begin to notice the effects of the tolerance.

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With many drugs, the diminishing returns in drug effects that are experienced often motivate the user to take increasingly large amounts. This holds for drugs like cocaine, heroin, crack, and many prescription drugs. However, once the body acclimates to the substance, it can suffer withdrawal symptoms if the dosage is not increased or maintained.

LSD is different in this regard since when the tolerance takes effect, the user will no longer be able to experience the effects of the drug no matter the dose. At this point, there is no other recourse but to either stop until the tolerance falls away or perhaps stop for good with the help of some healthy techniques.

How Long Can It Take to Develop a Tolerance to LSD?

Tolerance to LSD starts to develop immediately after multiple consecutive uses. For example, if a user takes LSD for just three or four days in a row, the LSD no longer produces the same desired effects. In the case of LSD, no larger dose will produce the effects until there has been a break period and no usage. After abstaining for 3 or 4 days, users report a normal level of tolerance returns. At this point, the usual effects can be achieved.

Withdrawal Symptoms When Detoxing From a Tolerance to LSD

Since LSD does not create a strong chemical dependency to the degree that many other drugs do. Drugs that cause severe chemical dependencies begin to create a large amount of chemical adaptation or adjustment in the user’s brain. LSD is known to not create a physical reliance on the drug in its users. However, there is a noticeable psychological dependence.

With LSD withdrawal typically unique for each user, the potential symptoms can be difficult to predict. However, many common symptoms can be used to anticipate what the experience may entail.

Some of the most common LSD withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Discomfort or irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
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There are also some considerations for the potential long-term effects of LSD use and subsequent withdrawal. In many cases of heavy or extended usage, and even in some cases of moderate to low usage, the substance can cause extremely unpleasant experiences or “trips.” 

These “bad trips” can not only be dangerous and frightening when they occur, but they can leave lasting marks of anxiety, trauma, and even PTSD in some severe instances. In addition, these bad trips can lead to episodes called “flashbacks,” which cause the user to potentially relive a traumatic psychedelic experience. Often lasting for just a few minutes, the flashback can render the person unable to communicate or continue with their day until it has subsided.

Knowing how long your withdrawal from LSD and subsequent detox can take can be difficult. Since the withdrawal will be largely psychological and subjective, your progress timeline will be your own. It will be influenced by how long you used LSD, the doses that were involved each time, and the presence of any pre-existing mental health issues or conditions.

You may become generally uncomfortable for several days when you stop taking LSD after developing a tolerance. You may also be more anxious than usual and have trouble sleeping. If you have mental health issues like depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety, they may be triggered during this experience. Sometimes, you may need professional help for your more persistent symptoms.

How to Get Help if You Have a Tolerance to LSD

Many people find success in traditional methods such as telling friends and family so that you can help maintain personal accountability and begin to identify your ideal support network. Many people do not know the help and support available until they find the courage to ask.

Here are some other tips for quitting LSD:

  • Picking a specific day to make it official, preferably one that will be busy enough to distract you
  • Make sure you have alternatives available, such as candy or gum
  • Avoid triggers that have previously made you want to use LSD
  • Speak to your doctor or medical professional for other ideas
  • Understand that this may not be a quick process, but it will occur at your pace.

If you find that you might need additional help, you can always seek the assistance of a medical professional or behavioral treatment facility. They can discuss the options for treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient therapy and will work with you to create a treatment plan that will give you the best chance of a successful withdrawal from LSD.

Inpatient rehab may be particularly beneficial for someone suffering from an addiction as inpatient rehabs remove all outside distractions and temptations to return to the drug. They also employ therapists that can get to the root of the desire to use drugs in the first place so that the user can ensure they have a higher chance of lifelong sobriety. 

If you are ready to turn your life around for the better, the time is now. Reach out to a premier rehab facility that can get you on the path to a more fulfilling future right now. 

Sources:

Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. Das S, Barnwal P, Ramasamy A, Sen S, Mondal S. Lysergic acid diethylamide: a drug of ‘use’? Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2016;6(3):214-228. doi:10.1177/2045125316640440
Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Ascendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Epiphany Wellness, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed June 26, 2022

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